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Beloved, Chapter 25

Title: Beloved

Rating: for violence, language, slash.

Summary: VII, post DoC. Genesis/Cloud, one-sided Tifa/Cloud. It all starts when Cloud tries to leave during the middle of a Loveless performance.

Author’s Note: A long time coming, but here finally is the next chapter!  It's a nice long one, which will hopefully make up a bit for the wait.  I didn't get to do as much editing as I wanted on it, but I've already rewritten it once and am about sick of this chapter, and plus, didn't want to make you guys wait any longer.

Um, I will have to say that I won't be able to post the next chapter in two weeks either, though, because that is a con weekend and also I've been doing 12 hour days at work almost all week and that's not looking like stopping for at least a couple of weeks yet.  I'll tentatively pencil the next chapter in for three weeks from now but I'll keep you posted.  I'd hoped to have this fic finished before crunch time started up (both the work and cosplay variety) but it wound up taking a little longer than anticipated.

Special thanks to Little House for being so super-fast with the beta to make up for my tardiness!

Previous chapter


Beloved Chapter 25


The wind whipped at his hair and tugged on his coat as Genesis sped across Midgar. His shoulder ached with every pull of his wing, and exhaustion dragged at his limbs, but he pushed forward, coaxing every bit of energy he could from his battered body.

By no stretch of the imagination was he in ideal condition for this fight. He was nowhere near as efficient with Restore materia as he was with Fire, and those high-level casts had drained him more than he wanted to admit. None of them had been perfect heals, but he’d not had the time or concentration available to do better.

It didn’t matter, though. There was no time. He would have to manage.

He clutched the bucket close as he banked on the breeze, wheeling towards Sector 0. Water sloshed around the bottom – it was less than a third full. The first bucket had been destroyed in the explosion. The second he had covered with his body, but in the resulting tumble had spilled most of its contents.

It was terrifying. There wasn’t enough water for second chances.

He had one shot, one dose of the water only.

“A trifle, for a SOLDIER First Class,” he muttered to himself, and if his following laugh was more hysterical giggle than confident chuckle, then only the wind heard it.

ShinRa Headquarters loomed before him – decrepit, crumbling, but still towering far above the rest of Midgar. A dark, silent monument to commemorate the company’s many sins. A place he’d once called home.

Now the sight made his stomach churn in revulsion.

Genesis swooped low as he neared, his shadow speeding over the broken pavement of the road once leading to Loveless Avenue. Better to approach from below, and keep at least the chance of surprise.

When he reached the base, he banked hard, wing working and shoulder burning as he shot towards the sky. Air rushed past his ears, drowning out even the flutter of feathers and leather. Empty floors zipped by in a blur, windows blown out and broken furniture scattered in their depths.

He broke at the 60th in a silent gust of wind, letting the thermal buffet him just a little higher, warm plumes of air cradling him like invisible hands. Praying to the Goddess that his hunch had been correct.

And then he saw them.

Saw that old, familiar profile, with long silver hair, the back he’d faced in a hundred different memories. He spared it no attention, though. His eyes were riveted on the second figure, pinned with blade against a steel girder, blood pooling at his feet, blue eyes wide.

And something ugly, something Genesis thought long buried with his cure for degradation, rose in his chest.

His fist curled, leather creaking dangerously.

He’d planned to take stock of the situation, of the layout. Perhaps fashion a distraction, even. Until that sight drove all rationality from his brain.

His materia flared with scarcely a thought. “Sephiroth!”

He’d barely begun to turn before Genesis flung a roaring ball of fire at him.

Sephiroth leapt clear. The fireball curved, following, flames licking at the edges of his coat. It wouldn’t hit, but Genesis didn’t care. It bought him precious time.

He landed in front of Cloud, black wing flapping wildly for a moment as he struggled to compensate for his momentum. “Cloud!” A hiss escaped through his teeth when he saw the damage.

Cloud’s expression held shades of pain and relief both. “Tifa?” he rasped.

“She’s fine,” Genesis replied shortly. “Though I think your priorities are currently skewed!”

Cloud closed his eyes for half a second. “Right.” When he opened them again, his jaw was set, and his expression as focused as any SOLDIER on a mission. He planted his feet and said, “Do it.”

No time to waste. Sephiroth might be without his sword, but that advantage would not hold for long. Genesis grit his teeth as he gripped Masamune’s hilt, already warming up the Restore materia. “Brace yourself.”

Then, in one sharp jerk, pulled the blade free.

With a pained grunt, Cloud collapsed to the ground, arms still bound awkwardly behind his back. Genesis dropped Masamune, the clatter of the blade ringing in the background. He fumbled for the Restore materia, holding it so tightly that it was a wonder it didn’t shatter.

Light flared, and he breathed a ragged sigh of relief as magic sealed the wound, mako eagerly aiding the process. Another patch job, but more than enough for a SOLDIER.

The whisper of settling leather made his shoulders tense. “Hmph.” Sephiroth landed lightly behind them. Masamune vanished into curls of black smoke, reappearing moments later in his hand. “So the self-professed hero arrives.”

“You’re predictable, old friend,” Genesis snapped, his rapier slicing through the bonds twined around Cloud’s wrists. “Did you truly think you’d bought anything more than a few minutes?”

Sephiroth chuckled, and the sound of it sent waves of old, familiar fury burning through Genesis’s veins. “A few minutes was all I required.”

Cloud was shoving himself to his feet already. Genesis lent an elbow – all he could spare with his rapier in one hand and the bucket of water in the other. “It won’t work,” he said, his voice thready and hoarse and barely audible. “I’ll never let you.”

“You seem to think you have a choice, Cloud.”

Genesis’s gaze darted between them. Something had changed, something he was not yet privy to. The field of play had shifted.

“I do have a choice. I don’t need you to make my choices for me.”

Sephiroth merely smirked. “If you say so, Cloud.”

They faced off, balancing precariously on the edge of violence. It was only a question of who would move first.

“My sword?” Cloud asked under his breath.

Genesis shook his head, and refused to feel guilty for overlooking it. “I couldn’t carry both it and the water.” For all the strength of a SOLDIER, he still only had so many hands. Without breaking eye contact with Sephiroth, he muttered, quiet enough for only his ally’s ears to hear, “We only have one shot.”

The silence stretched as Cloud processed that. It made Genesis nervous. He’d agreed to help him rescue Weiss in theory, but faced with those odds, would he still risk it?

Best to proceed quickly, before Cloud had the chance to change his mind. “My sword or the water?” he offered in the same low voice. They only had the one blade between them, after all.

Cloud cast a sideways glance at the crimson rapier. “Neither. We need him pinned, right? I can’t do that with an unfamiliar blade.” He tugged at his gloves – torn ragged at the wrists, but protection enough.

It was entirely inappropriate given the gravity of the situation, but Genesis enjoyed a rush of warm satisfaction all the same that his comrade had arrived at the same battle plan so quickly.

Sephiroth made a sound of amusement as they broke apart, ready to fight. “What’s this? Planning to go against me unarmed? You’ve grown bold, Cloud.”

“Or maybe you’ve just grown weaker,” Cloud shot back. He shifted his stance, raising his fists and brushing the edge of his foot against Genesis’s. A silent signal.

Genesis smiled grimly. Spared a moment to focus his thoughts and energy.

And then, with a gesture of his sword, set a ring of explosions bursting around Sephiroth.

He would settle old rivalries and save Weiss at the same time.

“Your journey ends here, old friend!”


The instant the fire burst, Cloud sprang forward, dashing at top speed into Sephiroth’s blind spot.

He swept a roundhouse kick at his back. It didn’t connect, his foe already twisting away, his boot scraping nothing but leather.

Too slow. Genesis’s patch job of healing had done its work, but he was far from top condition for this fight. He didn’t have his sword, either. Sephiroth had emptied his pockets of materia, likely while he’d been unconscious. The only one he had left was Water, probably only missed because it had been stowed separately, out of easy reach. It wouldn’t make a difference, though. Offensively, it was almost useless against someone of Sephiroth’s calibre.

To make matters even more difficult, they weren’t fighting to kill.

Cloud was sure he’d dealt with worse odds, but he was having trouble remembering any right then.

No room for hesitation or second thoughts. Cloud launched into a flurry of attacks, short jabbing punches and low leg sweeps. Sephiroth wove effortlessly between them, always half a step ahead and just out of reach.

Genesis tracked them, keeping his distance. The moment Cloud retreated to regroup, he let loose another bombardment. Fire burst around them, staccato explosions of blazing heat, but one swipe of Masamune pushed the flames back with a wall of air.

It bought him the opening he needed. Cloud darted forward, ducking inside the blade’s reach. And before his opponent could do much as blink, drove his fist into Sephiroth’s gut.

It was like punching a slab of mythril ore.

Sephiroth slid back, boots scraping trails on the dusty concrete. He straightened with a condescending smile. “Is that the extent of your strength?” The blow hadn’t even winded him.

Cloud shook out his hand. He didn’t have even half of Tifa’s technique in hand to hand combat. He made up for it with mako-enhanced speed and strength, but apparently that wasn’t going to be enough. “This time, it’s not just me you’re fighting.”

Sephiroth spun, barely raising Masamune in time to catch the rapier slashing at his back. The clash of metal shrieked through the tower. “Your arrogance hasn’t diminished at all, apparently,” Genesis sneered.

“How familiar,” Sephiroth drawled, and with an easy gesture, pushed the crimson rapier aside. He flicked his blade towards the bucket in Genesis’s grasp, but the other SOLDIER parried the strike, and followed it up with a torrent of flame. “It reminds me of old times. Do you remember, Genesis?”

“I don’t care to dwell on such an ugly past.” He slashed his rapier again, a line of fire bursting from it like a red-hot Blade Beam. Sephiroth swept it away with a swing of Masamune, but Cloud was already moving, leaping into the air and driving feet-first into a Falcon’s Dive.

Sephiroth loosed his wing and jumped clear. Black feathers scattered. Cloud’s heel hit concrete, and the ground shattered.

The floor collapsed with deafening rumble, chunks of concrete crumbling into a crater, down through one floor, then the next. Cracks spread like spider webs through the foundations. Genesis fled to the air, bucket held protectively close as he retreated to the surviving half of the demolished landing.

Cloud didn’t wait for the dust to settle – and neither did Sephiroth. His foe gunned straight for Genesis, Masamune gleaming silver through the haze of billowing grey grit.

Cloud wouldn’t let him. He got there first, his shoulder slamming into Sephiroth’s side, knocking him off course. Pain flared in his chest, the remains of his injuries making themselves known. It cost him the vital second he needed to follow through, to grab him and pin him, and his opponent drifted away unharmed once more.

“Jealous, Cloud?” Sephiroth asked.

“I’m sick of you,” he retorted, shaking out his arm to quell the ache. Odin, he missed his sword. “Why won’t you just stay a memory, like you belong?”

“But where would that leave you?” Masamune jabbed forward, but Cloud twisted aside, and the blade passed in a whisper of air. “Without purpose, in a world that despises you.”

“I don’t need you to provide me with purpose.” He tried to shift forward again, but Masamune’s range was enormous – once he moved outside of that inner guard, getting back inside it proved impossible without a distraction. “I need you to stay dead.”

“You’re in denial, Cloud.” They danced back and forth, Masamune a blur of short, sharp strikes that grazed Cloud’s arm, cheek, leg, sending tiny spatters of blood to the ground and slivers of black fabric flying. “I make you what you are. Without me, you don’t belong. You’re not one of them, no matter how desperately you cling to those pathetic sheep.”

Cloud grit his teeth, threw caution to the wind, and lunged forward. Through surprise alone, he managed to hook Sephiroth’s sword arm.

Sephiroth had rattled him, in more ways than one. But that wasn’t anything new. It was how he fought. It only mattered if Cloud let it get to him, let those words get under his skin. He knew how to focus, and now he knew what Sephiroth was truly after. He could fight against it.

“You SOLDIERs are all nothing but a time bomb.”

He shoved that thought aside, and replaced it with a bastardised version of Tifa’s Rolling Blaze. They spun in tandem, Cloud using sheer G-force to maintain his advantage, before smashing Sephiroth to the ground.

He slammed his foot onto Masamune, pinning the sword flat. Drove his knee into Sephiroth’s stomach. Sephiroth grunted, and started to raise his other arm, but Cloud caught it and pinned it, muscles straining to hold it down even with the better leverage.


The other SOLDIER dove towards them in a whirl of feathers and leather. “Hold him, Cloud Strife!”

In the strength stakes, Sephiroth would win eventually. But they only needed a moment. A window where Sephiroth couldn’t dodge.

The pressure increased again, and Sephiroth’s arm slowly lifted from the floor. Cloud clenched his teeth, struggling to match it. “Don’t even try it. This is the end of the line.”

A flash of red caught the corner of his eye – Genesis, arriving at last, water at the ready. Relief surged through him.

Until Cloud saw a shadow of a smirk creeping across Sephiroth’s face.

“No!” he blurted, as the hum of materia rose in his ears and the sword he thought he had pinned slid out from his foot like a shadow. He abandoned his position, lunging in front of Genesis just in time to take a fireball to the chest.

The heat seared for half a moment – with no sword to sweep it away or momentum to pass through the flames – before some distant part of him remembered his Water materia, and conjured just enough to douse himself. He coughed through the smoke, and his ears rung with the clash of swords as Genesis fenced with Masamune.

“Resorting to cheap tricks now, Sephiroth?” sniped Genesis.

“I thought you of all people would appreciate results ahead of strategy,” Sephiroth replied, and accentuated his words with a particularly vicious sweep of his sword. Genesis met it, grimacing under the weight one-handed, before twisting his rapier and sending the strike sliding to the side. “Although, perhaps not. After all, I can’t remember you ever getting much in the way of results, after all.”

The barb seemed to work, as Genesis let out an uncharacteristically inarticulate growl, throwing a truly impressive salvo at his opponent. Sephiroth simply stood fast, protected by the tell-tale shimmer of a Magic Barrier.

Cloud could have kicked himself. That had been a close call. Too close. They’d walked right into Sephiroth’s trap. Why hadn’t he wondered where his materia had gone? Because it hadn’t seemed important, that was why. Because the basic materia he’d been carrying with him was next to useless against Sephiroth.

Against a fragile bucket of water was a different story.

Against Genesis’s magic, too. He watched another volley of fireballs turn to harmless embers before their eyes. Genesis’s frustration grew visible as his weapon of choice didn’t even so much as force their opponent to evade anymore.

Cloud threw himself back into the fray, forcefully dragging Sephiroth’s attention away from him again. As he dodged and weaved and punched and kicked and cobbled together a mish-mash of moves he’d copied from Tifa and Loz and Rude, his mind worked furiously. Searching for something, anything they could do to corner Sephiroth, to end the stalemate.

The more they fought, though, the more something felt off. He didn’t have his sword, after all, and while that meant he could move faster, it also meant he couldn’t block or parry Masamune. Yet all he had to show for it were a few bloody grazes. After that last lunge to protect the water, he’d fully expected to wind up impaled again.

Yet he wasn’t.

There could only be one reason for that.

“This is a fool’s errand,” remarked Sephiroth, holding Masamune in a guard to ward him off. He eyed Genesis speculatively, who circled their position from the air just beyond the half-demolished landing. Close, but out of range of a surprise attack. Frustrated as Genesis might have been, he was being appropriately cautious with the water. “You don’t even have a weapon to fight with. You’re at a disadvantage.”

“I’ve got one advantage,” Cloud retorted, and without any further explanation, dashed forward, heedless of Masamune perfectly poised to cut him in two.

Except at the last moment, when the cold steel all but kissed the fabric of his shirt, Masamune turned flat, and slammed him back with blunt force.

Cloud hit the ground, skidding to a halt halfway across the landing. A line of dull pain blossomed across his chest, but it was already growing warm, mako rushing to heal the bruise before it could even fully form.

He’d proven his point. Cloud stood, and continued, “This time, you don’t want to kill me.”

Even when he’d been pinned by Masamune, the sword had been carefully placed. Too carefully, for when dealing with a SOLDIER. It wouldn’t have killed him even if Genesis hadn’t been there with a Restore materia.

Sephiroth, infuriatingly, remained unperturbed. “Then our situations aren’t so different, are they? After all-” He gestured to himself. “You don’t seem to want to harm this vessel either.”

He clenched his jaw hard enough to ache. “Genesis doesn’t. I can be persuaded.” It was an empty threat though, and Sephiroth’s expression said he knew it. Cloud didn’t have the capability to kill him without a sword. The water was their only choice.

The only weapons he had were his fists, a Water materia, and the knowledge that Sephiroth would avoid making a fatal strike.

“Genesis,” he called, not breaking eye contact. “Wet hair, remember?”

A brief pause followed that, until somewhere from his left came the response, “Very good indeed, Cloud Strife.” There was a flurry of feathers as he retreated.

Cloud adjusted his gloves. This was the last trick up his sleeve, and it would only work once. This time, he had to get a clean pin, or their plan to save Weiss was as good as busted.

He darted forward, throwing a testing punch. Sephiroth knocked it aside with the hilt of his sword, stepping forward as though to follow through, but Cloud was faster, darting around and sweeping another kick at his back.

“Aren’t you tired of this yet?” Sephiroth asked, bemused. He sent a volley of fire towards Genesis, presumably just to show he could, but Cloud didn’t worry about it – at that range, it wouldn’t be any danger to the water. “If you’re drawing this out in hopes of outlasting me, you’ll be disappointed.”

“You’re right,” Cloud responded. “I’m done with you. Genesis, now!”

Sephiroth whirled, to face a spray of water bearing down on him.

His reaction was immediate. He threw himself backwards, twisting to the side, arching bodily away from the showering droplets.

And Cloud got his opening.

He slammed his shoulder into Sephiroth’s side, throwing him even further off-balance. With his right hand, he struck at Masamune’s hilt – with the left, caught the flat of the blade – and sent it spinning from Sephiroth’s grasp into his own.

It felt heavy in his grip – as heavy as the Buster Sword – and awkward. But Cloud didn’t need to fight with it.

He hooked his left leg behind Sephiroth’s knees, sweeping his feet out from under him. Slammed his opponent into the floor hard enough to crack the concrete.

And drove Masamune between his ribs to pin him to the floor.

“Your turn, now,” Cloud spat, straddling his legs and pressing down on the hilt.

“How unexpected,” Sephiroth said, and for the first time, his voice had gained a rough edge to it. “You don’t care about poor old Weiss after all, do you? Have you given up on Genesis at last?”

“It didn’t kill me,” he retorted. “It won’t kill Weiss.”

Sephiroth chuckled, and tilted his head back, his hair splayed around it like silver rays. “And what do you hope to accomplish, then? Your precious water missed.”

Cloud didn’t respond, and Sephiroth’s gaze slid to the edge of his sleeve, which had been spattered by a few stray droplets. “…I see. Water materia.” He almost sounded intrigued. “Impressive, for a mere puppet.”

Cloud’s grip tightened on Masamune, and it sunk another inch into Sephiroth’s chest. A fresh wave of blood welled briefly from the wound, sending thin crimson trails running across his pale torso.

His archenemy merely sighed. “You always insist on doing things the hard way, don’t you Cloud?”

“Genesis!” Cloud called, then glared back down at Sephiroth. “You can’t escape this time.” Even if he could remove Masamune on his own, it would still slow him down enough for Genesis to get a clean shot. He could already see him running towards them from the corner of his eyes, water at the ready.

“It won’t work,” Sephiroth said, bemused despite being pinned to the ground by his own sword.

“You dodged the water,” Cloud retorted. “And you seem pretty interested in destroying what’s left of the real thing.” That was as good as proof that the spring’s water would work.

“That’s not why.”

Masamune turned to smoke in his hands. Startled, Cloud overbalanced and fell forward.

Sephiroth’s hand snapped up, and fisted itself in his hair before he could pull away. “Isn’t this cozy?” he murmured mockingly. “I had no idea you felt that way, Cloud.”

Cloud froze, skin crawling at even the suggestion. “Don’t mess with me. You’re not even interested in that,” he breathed.

“No,” Sephiroth agreed. “But this hurts both of you.”

Then he pulled him down, and forced their lips together.

Cloud choked, fighting against the grip, but couldn’t get purchase. He punched blindly, trying to hit the wound Masamune should have left behind, but Sephiroth’s fingers just dug painfully into his skull instead.

Something pungent, rotten and viscous passed over his tongue, too thick and slimy to be saliva. He tried to snap his teeth shut against it, but static flared in a haze of white, freezing his muscles, locking his jaw for that agonisingly long breath as it slipped down his throat.

Panic kicked in, and Cloud summoned a fresh burst of strength, forcefully tearing away. Thin trails of dark, oily liquid spilled from the edge of his lips. He wiped at his mouth, throat working, struggling to throw up but coming up dry. “That was….”

He knew the answer without having to ask.

Sephiroth smirked, rising from the ground, heedless of the still-bleeding wound Masamune had left in his chest. “There wasn’t much left to go around. And I needed some to make proper use of this body. But the rest, Cloud?” He paused, as though savouring the words. “I’ve been saving especially for you.”

Jenova cells.

Over his shoulder, he could see Genesis, frozen in place, water seemingly forgotten in his arms. And could only watch his expression slowly morphing from murderous rage to horror.

“Say goodbye, Cloud Strife,” Sephiroth murmured, and then the static rose, images flashing through his head in a torrent, a thousand voices of the Lifestream screaming… then only silence.

Next chapter


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 19th, 2013 10:25 am (UTC)
Evil, but I have to admit I thought something like this might happen.

I read it to fast though! I almost want to cry that its going to be at least another 3 weeks before we find out what happens next.

Characterization is brilliant, and I have to say I think you've turned Sephiroth into a better villain they he already was (which is rather brilliant.)

Anyway happy writing, and I hope your con goes well.
Jan. 19th, 2013 01:15 pm (UTC)
Heh, well, it was pretty loudly telegraphed at the end of the last chapter, so I don't imagine it was a big surprise for many people.

I'm sorry for the wait, truly! Especially at such a juncture of the story. There just aren't enough hours in my day for all the commitments, and I'm afraid fic is the most flexible one.

And thank you! I'm really enjoying writing Sephiroth as a full-on villain.
Jan. 19th, 2013 08:27 pm (UTC)
Oh I completely understand the schedule thing. My only job is raising to children and its hard sometimes to fit in time to write around that.

And he's really entertaining to read so I guess its a win win :)
Jan. 19th, 2013 12:52 pm (UTC)
I knew you would leave us all hanging right at that spot once I remembered what Cloud had been promised was his fate. So cruel of you to be so busy *cries* Alas that is life.

Thinking of life - how are you holding up with all the hot weather?

Oh Sephiroth you delicious evil bastard.

And now to count down the days till the next post.
Jan. 19th, 2013 01:23 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, it was kind of obvious, wasn't it? I actually wanted to go a little further to avoid that particular cut off point but the chapter was already getting quite long (and late).

My apologies! Everything is just kind of dovetailing at the moment.

Thanks for the thought, but Brisbane has escaped the worst of it - it's hideously humid here but not record-breaking. Summer as usual, really. :) How have you been managing?
Jan. 29th, 2013 07:27 am (UTC)
For I am slow in replying to things.



I have to ask - what suburb are you in? Should I be worried when they say flooding down your way?

Worst of it up here on the hinterland is the power. Half the town lost power Sunday morning which made work interesting (am in a supermarket), which then made Monday hella busy for a public holiday. Then the power was off today as well. Some haven't have power for three days now. Crazy. I'm just now hoping for no rain for a week so the house and lawn can dry out for cleaning and mowing. Weather going from one extreme to the next is so typical of summer.

Hope you're holding out okay and that the weather hasn't messed up any of your plans.
Jan. 29th, 2013 08:41 am (UTC)
Thank you for your concern! The most the flooding did for me here was inconvenience me by cutting my bus route in half and shutting down the trains (although that was more due to wind than water). My folks live in Bundaberg though so that's been a little bit stressful. :( The house is safe, but the family business is completely underwater - all two stories of it. That's kind of insane.

Yikes, the hinterlands have been getting a copping too! Stay high and dry, hey, and good luck with it all! Being without power sucks, makes you wonder how people managed a century ago. Apparently this isn't even the last of the extremes we can expect this summer.... yeesh.
Jan. 19th, 2013 06:15 pm (UTC)

I mean, shit I was half expecting this as it was, but I thought it'd be more Genesis arriving to find an unconscious Weiss and Cloud nowhere to be seen until the "oh shit" realization. But no, Genesis gets a front row seat instead and I'm fairly sure this is worse alksfhlksdjhasnbvljknsaieuwjbk

And this makes how many chapters now that I've said "SHIT" after finishing reading it? ffffffff
Jan. 19th, 2013 09:41 pm (UTC)
but I thought it'd be more Genesis arriving to find an unconscious Weiss and Cloud nowhere to be seen until the "oh shit" realization.

That's exactly what I was expecting too. This was worse. D: (And by "worse", I mean worse for the characters, and better for us the readers. :D)
Jan. 20th, 2013 12:47 am (UTC)
And rob you guys of a fight scene? Never. I am seriously starting to run out of ideas on how to keep fight scenes interesting though.

Hahaha, at least five! <3
Jan. 19th, 2013 06:18 pm (UTC)
Aaaaand cut!

To be continued...

^That phrase is quickly becoming one of my most loathed quotes in the English language.

Cloud: Did I get that right?

Genesis (to Seph): Get your arms away from Strife!

Seph (grins): Jealous? x)

Beautiful fight scenes as always <3 Cloud being bullied, Sephiroth's inner sadist (or rather outer) rearing its head, Genesis frustrated out-of-his-mind... The usual x)
Jan. 20th, 2013 12:49 am (UTC)
Heh, sorry. I'm not a big fan of the 'to be continued' thing either, but on the other hand, at least it means it WILL be continued? You guys know I won't leave you hanging forever, I hope that helps?

LOL you've more or less summarised the whole chapter into incredibly efficient Cliff's Notes.

And thanks! This fight scene was especially challenging to write so I'm glad you liked it.

Jan. 19th, 2013 06:27 pm (UTC)
Darn, I know it was heavily implied what was coming but... ow, my heart. Sephiroth you glorious bastard.
You're so mean to Cloud, girl.

And of course now the wait for the next chapter will be the most unbearable. :P But oh well - don't overwork yourself too much.
Jan. 20th, 2013 12:50 am (UTC)
Being mean to Cloud is Sephiroth's favourite pasttime, definitely. I think it has even usurped destroying the Planet.

Sorry! But thank you for your understanding.
Jan. 19th, 2013 09:36 pm (UTC)
omg omg omg omg omg omg omg OMG update yessss

three more weeks maybe maybe a month it doesn't matter why am i doing this to myself but i would never stop never


I love that the first section is from Genesis's point of view! :3 so many warm moments! I mean, there's the tension of an incoming almost impossible fight, but I just loved that Genesis's plans for subterfuge and cautiousness went kapoot the instant he saw Cloud. omg c:

I love that we can tell that neither Cloud and Genesis are ready for this fight and yet we hold hope they just might.

(not even gonna lie: when Genesis pulled Masamune free and discarded it carelessly, I thought Sephiroth would grab it and stab Genesis while he was distracted D:)

The only one he had left was Water, probably only missed because it had been stowed separately, out of easy reach. It wouldn’t make a difference, though. Offensively, it was almost useless against someone of Sephiroth’s calibre.

Cloud, you lack imagination. You could use Water to make a poodle right in front of or under Sephiroth and make him slip comically. :V

It was like punching a slab of mythril ore.

O-ouch! My hand throbbed in sympathy. D:

It's so rare for Genesis to call Cloud without his last name, that when he does it, it's so :3 and kind of :( and
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omg omg omg omg omg omg omg OMG update yessss

three more weeks maybe maybe a month it doesn't matter why am i doing this to myself but i would never stop never


I love that the first section is from Genesis's point of view! :3 so many warm moments! I mean, there's the tension of an incoming almost impossible fight, but I just loved that Genesis's plans for subterfuge and cautiousness went kapoot the instant he saw Cloud. omg c:

I love that we can tell that neither Cloud and Genesis are ready for this fight and yet we hold hope they just might.

(not even gonna lie: when Genesis pulled Masamune free and discarded it carelessly, I thought Sephiroth would grab it and stab Genesis while he was distracted D:)

<i> The only one he had left was Water, probably only missed because it had been stowed separately, out of easy reach. It wouldn’t make a difference, though. Offensively, it was almost useless against someone of Sephiroth’s calibre.</i>

Cloud, you lack imagination. You could use Water to make a poodle right in front of or under Sephiroth and make him slip comically. :V

<i>It was like punching a slab of mythril ore.</i>

O-ouch! My hand throbbed in sympathy. D:

It's so rare for Genesis to call Cloud without his last name, that when he does it, it's so :3 and kind of :( and <:) Like, here:

<i>The other SOLDIER dove towards them in a whirl of feathers and leather. “Hold him, Cloud Strife!”</i>

You can tell Genesis is thinking properly again. :3

(Genesis fighting with just one arm and holding a bucket with the other is a hilarious mental picture and would normally have me rolling with laughter in any other situation but this one :( )

...He was just playing with them before! D:< ASDFGHJKL ARRGHHH!!!


yaaaay (also how appropriate and clever, ha ha, you rock, Cloud)-oh wait right he can do that whoops we all forgot it seems

D: D: D: D:




that's gross


(holy shit that was awesome I mean on the one hand I'm impressed and that was sort of titillating eh he he I think but in the good way and oh my god Genesis's reaction and ahhhhhhhh cliffhanger of doom orz)
Jan. 20th, 2013 12:54 am (UTC)
Ahaha, I know it was a typo, but I suddenly started picturing Cloud making a poodle made of water that would yap at Sephiroth and try to bite his ankles. XD

Cloud's imagination got moving later, thankfully.

Oh, you noticed that little last name drop, huh? It was a tiny detail but it makes me happy someone picked up on it.

Thank you for leaving such a generous comment anon!
Jan. 20th, 2013 02:14 am (UTC)
...I knew I had written the word wrong but I was too carried away with excitement and stuff to try to remember how to spell it properly. My subconscious mind has been revealed!

I think Cloud could totally make an animated crude image of animal out of water if he really really wanted to, though!

(The sheer wtf-ery might have distracted Sephiroth more than actually sane plans! :V)

I liked more what Cloud actually did, though. It was very clever (which means you are clever because you came up with it).

I have to admit, "Cloud Strife" is just such an endearing thing in this fic that it's hard not to take notice of it. :3 c:

(Also, note to self: don't make any more smilies with the "less than" and "more than" symbols on lj. Terrible things happen. D:)
Jan. 20th, 2013 02:35 am (UTC)
Ahahaha, I will take that free compliment, thank you~ The credit really goes to watching way too many shonen jump animes and action movies, though.

Ah yes, the html coding gets in a bit of a tizzy about it. Unfortunately comment editing isn't possible for anon comments to fix it! But no worries, it was all still perfectly readable.
Jan. 19th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
Everybody else seems to have covered the major points quite well, so I'd just like to squee over Cloud using Tifa's training to fight. XD
Jan. 20th, 2013 12:55 am (UTC)
<3 Thank you! I figure he would have surely picked up some over the years, since Cloud seems to have quite an aptitude for that sort of thing.
Jan. 19th, 2013 09:46 pm (UTC)
same anon as before
Also, the witty banter/psychological mindgames in this chapter were exquisite. Sephiroth's sadistic streak was in top shape, with razor-sharp wit and oh so subtle and calm mocking. Is that guy unflappable or D:

Genesis and Cloud's reactions were awesome too. And the pacing and battle scenes were superb. And the clever tricks and fake-outs. I love that it was more a battle of smarts while still being exciting physically.

“No,” Sephiroth agreed. “But this hurts both of you.”

Also, oh, um, wow, Sephiroth really is a dick, uh. I feel so prurient saying this, but although I loved the entire chapter, that was my favorite part. :V >__>

I hope everything works out fine at work and that you have so much fun at the con! (and viceversa too because why not vOv :V)
Jan. 20th, 2013 01:01 am (UTC)
Re: same anon as before
I liked that in Advent Children the only time Sephiroth's expression showed the slightest bit of surprise (or anything other than confidence and smugness, really) was more or less only that brief instant before Cloud actually defeated him. It's something I try to capture while writing him. Glad you like it! <3

And thank you! Haha, they both apply, really. Fingers crossed it all goes well!
Jan. 20th, 2013 02:20 am (UTC)
Re: same anon as before
Yeah, Sephiroth totally thinks he is a God and beyond human failings, and he can keep that facade up as long as he remains in control (which is a fairly easy thing for him to do, what with him being uberpowerful and scarily intelligent), but the moment you take that control away from him and he realizes he can't get it back? The mask cracks.

He's even fooled himself, but I think that deep, deep, deep down he knows that now he's just playing a role and isn't much of a real individual any more.

Actually, I think he never even got the chance to be his own person, not completely, even before going crazy. And that's the real tragedy of his character.
Jan. 19th, 2013 11:35 pm (UTC)
Ouch; knew that was gonna happen. & poor Gen-Gen can only save one.
Jan. 20th, 2013 11:46 pm (UTC)
No! Not another cliff hanger. But I do love the chapter. ^-^
Feb. 17th, 2013 03:37 am (UTC)
Oh, I keep forgetting to ask this:

In a comment thread I remember you saying that you didn't plan to post Beloved on fanfiction dot net. Do you feel comfortable telling why?
Feb. 17th, 2013 04:10 am (UTC)
Hmm, it's difficult to explain, excuse my overly long reply as I try to put words to it.

Partly because it's a slightly more adult fic I guess, and FFnet's audience tends to skew younger. While I definitely have worse on my ffnet account (which I'll leave be because I'm not big on deleting stuff) and this would still fall within the guidelines, I'm not as comfortable as I used to be with that.

Also because it's a pairing fic. It was a little bit annoying as it was on Fifth Act from all the people who wanted pairings and I had to constantly remind them that there weren't going to be any. In this, I'm pretty sure that switch will flip to people 'wanting this pairing instead' or 'wanting no pairing' or (most likely) 'wanting more smut'. I actually think as a purely pairing standpoint this fic is a bit of a failure so navigating the murky waters of reader expectations in this case would be painful. LJ crowd are more understanding and less entitled, so it's never been an issue. Final Fantasy fandom on FFnet are as a general rule unusually good too, but it's that ten percent who complain about fic not being perfectly tailored to their exact wants and desires that make me a bit tired of that platform. That's what kinkmemes are for.

That said, I'll probably post this on Ao3, and once it's done I may change my mind and post on FF.net too if I'm feeling a little masochistic. I do still like FF.net's formatting the best, and I have a little bit of loyalty to the site after being on it for so long. For now though, I'll focus on finishing... How I feel about the ending may change my mind on whether or not I throw this fic into the pirahna pond.
Feb. 17th, 2013 04:51 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you for the reply! I genuinely appreciate the length -- I liked to hear your whole reasoning behind the decision.

I can definitely see why you would want to at least wait until there is no more pressure to write the updates (while having the reviewers' comments/complaints/etc. still floating around in your mind at the time of writing and all the hassle of uploading) to put it in ff.net, if ever.

And all your other points make sense too.

(I'm glad to hear you're putting it on AO3, btw!)

If you don't mind hearing my opinion, while I do tend to prefer my shipping fics, er, shippier, I still love epic plots even more, and leaving some room for imagination (not just sex, I mean all the other romance-y or common relationship things) sits by me just fine. It's a nice balance, and one option of many, but definitely not a/the wrong one!

Also, to be honest, it's a little difficult to picture Cloud and Genesis being the open with their emotions type, so this sort of tentative and fragile feeling thing you've got going on with them seems perfect to me. It does make me worry how the story will end (along with all the Big Plot Things), and I have to admit it is exciting that a happy ending is, for once, not the foregone conclusion. It has increased my investment in the story and the characters, and that is a very nice and new experience for me.

Feb. 17th, 2013 06:48 am (UTC)
Yeah, it really comes down to the fact that it's a shipping fic with comparatively little shipping, which is really my fault, I should have either committed to something purely focused on plot or more heavily focused on the ship. It's basically setting up reader expectations for romance and then not delivering! It was a bit experimental in that respect and I would plot it differently in retrospect. Cheers for being understanding of that though and I'm glad you've managed to enjoy it so far anyway. Hopefully the ending will not disappoint!
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